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SEIU derides “3 strikes” rule, Rauner admin defends

Monday, Sep 25, 2017

* SEIU Healthcare Illinois…

The Rauner administration has commenced issuing warnings against hundreds, possibly THOUSANDS, of caregivers for people with disabilities who are facing termination under an unlawful “3-strikes-and-you’re-out” system that went into effect Aug. 1st.

The administration began sending the so-called “occurrences” as early as Aug. 31st (see linked document) for personal assistants in the Home Services Program (HSP) who help people with disabilities stay in their homes. Recipients are alleged to have “violated” an arbitrary 45-hour cap on work hours that on Sept. 5th was found to be illegally imposed under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, by an administrative law judge.

Reports on the illegal penalty process have thus far been anecdotal to SEIU Healthcare Illinois through its Member Resources Center and to allies in the disability rights movement in Illinois.

The union for the 28,000 caregivers in HSP has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Rauner administration to confirm the number of so-called “occurrences.”

By purging thousands of workers from the program, people with disabilities will be unable to find care and could be forced into much-costlier nursing institutions. As of last month, almost 4,000 consumers in the program required more than 45 hours of care per week.

The caregivers being purged are the same workforce that earlier this month sued the Rauner administration in Cook County for illegally denying workers a 48-cent-raise that was mandated by the General Assembly in this summer’s bipartisan budget agreement.

Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President Terri Harkin:

    “The news that the Rauner administration is going forward with its punitive purge of caregivers in the Home Services Program is a disaster for people with disabilities who use their care to live independently in their own homes instead of institutions.

    “This is an unjust, illegal and totally destabilizing policy opposed by every single stakeholder in the program. It will permanently damage the workforce in Illinois and will reduce choice and independence for thousands of people with disabilities.

    “We call on the Rauner administration to comply with the law, to IMMEDIATELY suspend his illegal “3-strikes-and-you’re-out” program and to shift their process to true dialogue and partnership with stakeholders.”

* Rauner spokesman Hud Englehart provided this response…

Pretty straightforward. The Department of Human Services is managing its overtime. The goal of the new policy is to lower expenses and reduce risks that might arise when overworked providers are delivering care. People with disabilities are getting the same number of hours of care as before. It’s just that when a provider hits 45 hours, the Department objective is to sub in rested people to deliver care. It’s like making sure tired pilots aren’t in the cockpit. Taxpayers get a better deal. Disabled get higher quality care. As in any other profession, continual policy violations result in termination.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Perrid - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    Sigh. “The goal of the new policy is to lower expenses…” There, that’s all you need to read about the response, the rest is total baloney. There weren’t enough workers before, then they imposed hour caps so that even more workers would be needed, and now they are going to start firing people, because of course it makes sense to get rid of people when there is already a shortage. So again, sigh.

  2. - Honeybear - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:04 am:

    I am so very very happy for Hud

    He has obviously never had to find a caregiver for a loved one after they have exceeded their 45 hours. It’s a nightmare.
    Your loved one trusts their caregiver
    Relies on them.
    “Why can’t I have _______ care for me?”
    45 hours max
    Well looks like I’ll have to take off work to be here and do will others because the agency doesn’t have anyone else to send.
    Upsets loved one
    Causes family hardship
    You are blessed Hud to not know this horror.
    But there again
    I think you do.
    Perfidy Hud, perfidy
    Claiming tired workers

  3. - Sugar Corn - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:10 am:

    Not “pretty straightforward” Hud.

    Your boss has resisted increasing the wages of workers who care for the disabled.

    Your boss has resisted covering health benefits of workers who care for the disabled.

    Almost 3 years of meanness toward low wage public workers triggers strong reactions from their union.

    That’s simple.

  4. - 100 miles west - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    This laughable. Look at the overtime hours being worked at state operated developmental centers, and community agencies, or even corrections. Anything else I want to write would not meet the guidelines.

  5. - Honeybear - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:11 am:

    I also want to say
    God bless those caregivers
    Wiping bottoms, feeding, cleaning
    And most of all loving
    Our loved ones
    You do what we wish we could do
    But can’t.
    Angels of care
    I pray each of you will finally be rewarded
    In heaven.

    I am so so sorry that Rauner is doing this to you.

    You don’t deserve it.

  6. - JoanP - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    How the heck does he justify enforcing an illegally imposed cap?

  7. - fed up - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:19 am:

    “Higher quality care,” is debatable. If these replacements were good at what they do, maybe they’d be doing it full time? That they’re not may mean something. Not to mention the familiarity and continuity that is lost.

    A replacement, who is not as familiar and/or possibly not well suited can be deadly. But boy saving a few bucks (on the front end) may seem to make sense for some.

  8. - cdog - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:22 am:

    Moving in a fresh body at 45 hrs is reasonable.

    Good for the disabled person.

    Good for the economy as more people would be needed.

    Good for checking back employees that lack integrity and probably are milking the clock at tax payer expense.

    This is a high finance issue and beyond the grasp of the SEIU who’s more focused on their various political agendas. /s

  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:35 am:

    I can see both sides of this. I know family members who billed the state for 24 hours a day, seven days week for their care of their child. This is impossible. They had to sleep at some time. As someone who cares for a family member in my home we desperately need a break after awhile. It can be very difficult work, and having someone else come in makes all the difference between quality care, and getting “totally” burnt out.

  10. - Happy Retiree (Formerly (Un) Happy) - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    So the Gov’s position is once again that he’s taking punitive action against Union Members because…the economy but moreover to “help” overworked staff and their clients. Bull. It’s what it is; another move meant to weaken unions.

    Governor, we’re wise to your true agenda.

  11. - Honeybear - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 11:04 am:

    Anonymous- I don’t believe you. You obviously have no idea how many alarm bells would go off for a twenty four hour billing. Even from this post you can tell that the Rauner administration is watching them like a hawk in order to issue a 3 strikes warning. Nice try at concern trolling.

    Cdog? Bilking? Do you have any idea how little these angels are paid for “toileting” our loved ones? It sure isn’t for the money. These folks have a calling.
    You callousness is stunning

  12. - cdog - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    Honeybear, I swim with sharks daily; trust me, they’re out there.

    There is absolutely nothing in my position that denigrates the work being done for these clients.

    I know they do a tough job but that is not a license to disregard normal OT principles.

    The rule your making is that depending on the dirtiness of the work, the less standard labor law can be enforced. Not a good imperative, right?

  13. - Dome Gnome - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    The overtime policy is particularly disruptive to family situations.

    Dads taking care of adult children.

    Sons taking care of moms & dads.

    Brothers taking care of sisters & brothers.

    Nephews taking care of aunts & uncles.

    It’s easy for a governor who dresses up in costumes of poverty to imagine a fantasy world of caretaking. He’ll never be that dad, that son, that brother, or that nephew. I wish the $18 watch and the Carhartt jacket had the power to fool me.

  14. - Anon221 - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 11:31 am:

    Here is the link to the document mentioned in the SEIU press release-

  15. - Honeybear - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 11:35 am:

    Cdog- what in Gods name are you even saying? Swim with sharks?
    You obviously have never had to secure care for a loved one. You’ve obviously never had to beg for a caregiver to stay for just an hour more.
    You’ve obviously never had wrestle with a care providing agency to get the coverage you need to make the situation work.
    You’ve obviously never had to call off work or cajole other family members to call off work to cover

    What is only now prohibited
    Working more than 45 hours
    Rauner made that rule
    it has nothing to do with labor standards

    Having worked in a private social service agency
    I can tell you that private care givers
    Work insane hours
    It’s not normal overtime principles
    My God the callousness of your statements
    James 5:4
    Read it
    As a matter of fact Read all of James

  16. - Langhorne - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    Hud–what a glib answer. Might get you an A on the quiz in crisis management class, but honeybear skewered you. Does anyone check your work, to see if it will hold up?

  17. - cdog - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 12:31 pm:

    Honeybear, the “swimming with sharks” metaphor is an acknowledgment that there are “time thieves,” and it is prudent to be on guard for them and have policies in place to prevent this, especially if responsible for OPM (other people’s money). They bite, aka they steal.

    In a religious context this too, is not cool according to the 10 Commandments.

    Your reference to James, which I am very familiar with, is unfair and judgemental. No one should ever be denied wages for which they’ve worked.

    45 hours is already 5 hours beyond a normal work week. Anything more than this is unreasonable on its face, regardless of the work being done.

    Again your argument has no standing in public policy, and is dangerous excuse making that when applied to an end game has disastrous effects.

    No personal offense intended, none taken.

  18. - RNUG - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    To second -Honeybear-

    While not one of these workers under discussion, I have a friend who is licensed health care professional working in a nursing home of sorts. Finding adequate staff is tough. My friend works insane hours, often 12 to 16 per shift, sometimes 7 days a week for weeks at a time; they live on caffeine and dedication. Their employer is not known for high wages, but does pay what they have to for the coverage needed.

    This is strictly about the State limiting service for cost control.

  19. - Albany Park Patriot - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 12:44 pm:

    The idea that the Rauner people are just looking after the poor workers is way too cute. Nobody in their right mind believes he cares about workers, much less the people they care for. This Hud guy seems like a total joke.

  20. - zatoichi - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    Where does the state intend to find all the extra workers needed to provide services after 40 hours? There are many residential providers who have 20%-30% staff vacancies because they cannot find staff now. How do they cover the missing times …lots of over time. Why? Because applicants cannot pass basic criteria, will jump to another job for a $.50 increase, or cannot reliably show up to work. Using overtime as a management statistic is largely an easy Excel spread sheet excuse. When pay is floating around $10 hr, what type of employee are you expecting to usually find?

  21. - Demoralized - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 3:09 pm:


    Outside of your “perfect world” is the real world that the rest of us live in. You think its a good idea to start throwing these workers to the curb because of these “occurrences?” That’s the way to fix the problem? Get rid of them? You talk about good policy and that is horrible policy.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with care and everything to do with making sure that these caregivers make no money.

  22. - Anon221 - Monday, Sep 25, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    cdog- “45 hours is already 5 hours beyond a normal work week. Anything more than this is unreasonable on its face, regardless of the work being done.”

    Do you believe this for all occupations, or only in this instance? Many, many people work these many hours or more, and sometimes at two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Some professionals such as lawyers work 80-100. During the harvest season, farmers may work that many as well. It’s hypocritical to single out caregivers, especially when it is clear this is not about money or safety. If it is either or both of those, Team Rauner is going to have to prove that in court, which will, I’m sure, have lawyers making more money in the long run than any savings Rauner could ever claim.

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